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Street Sweeper Social Scene - Street Sweeper Social Scene

Street Sweeper Social Club LP

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

“IT’S revolutionary party jams,” says Tom Morello, of his new project Street Sweeper Social Club. “It’s got huge steamroller riffs combined with depth, charge, funk, while Boots Riley unloads clip after clip of incendiary rhymes rich with satire and venom.”

Sound intriguing? You bet! A collaboration between Morello, the founding member and guitarist of Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, and Riley, best known as the leader of Oakland hip-hop outfit The Coup, should be.

But as fun as some of the tracks undoubtedly are, the album doesn’t always add up to a satisfying whole.

The problem is that some of the songs sound too similar and there’s not enough variation.

From the opening riffs of Fight! Smash! Win!, you can tell that the riffs are being delivered by Morello, while Riley doesn’t really mix up the flow. It’s all gritty, Rage-inspired guitar riffs and aggressive rapping.

Sometimes that’s a good thing. The aforementioned opener is a monster of a rock/hip-hop hybrid (think a more pumped up Linkin Park/Jay-Z), while 100 Little Curses is an angrier 99 Problems with Rage Against The Machine guitar licks. A solo from Morello about three minutes in offers some virtuoso riffage.

Admittedly, The Oath begins well with a more reigned in guitar refrain that suggests a mellow moment – but it then drops another huge riff before the minute mark and returns to formula.

The same applies to The Squeeze, Clap For The Killers, Somewhere In The World It’s Midnight and Shock You Again.

Good Morning, Mrs Smith, however, offers another highlight that opens strongly with a more classic American guitar riff, some useful “woo-hoo” moments and a killer chorus. It breaks up the more straight-forward jams.

While Promenade is more funky and bass-heavy than normal, albeit less successful.

Nobody Moves Til We Say Go brings things to a close in typically incendiary fashion, and includes some top riffing from Mr Morello.

But given the lack of variation in proceedings, you’d have every right to be left thirsting for more.

In the words of Riley, however, this is an album that has been put together at “a time when the working class is being fleeced left and right” and when “more families will be homeless and more people will be jobless”.

“They’ll need something to listen to on their iPods while storming Wall Street,” he added.

Some may even be asking for their money back!

Download picks: Fight! Smash! Win!, Nobody Moves Til We Say Go, Good Morning, Mrs Smith

Track listing:

  1. Fight! Smash! Win
  2. 100 Little Curses
  3. The Oath
  4. The Squeeze
  5. Clap For The Killers
  6. Somewhere In The World It’s Midnight
  7. Shock You Again
  8. Good Morning, Mrs Smith
  9. Megablast
  10. Promenade
  11. Nobody Moves (Til We Say Go)